From highlighting dramatic foliage to showcasing luminous grasses, here’s how to make the most of your garden this season.
Whether you’d like to add a few containers to brighten your entryway, tuck in a patch of late-blooming flowers or choose a statement tree for an annual fall show, here are a dozen ideas to give you some inspiration for making your garden shine this season.
Adding at least one tree chosen for its fall foliage display can have a big impact in the garden. Here, the brilliant gold leaves of Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis, USDA zones 6 to 9; find your zone) glow in this neat and tidy front yard in Montgomery, Alabama.
Chinese pistache trees reach about 25 feet tall at maturity, making them a perfect choice for a courtyard or small garden. The leaves change from gold to crimson, offering a spectacular display even in warm winter climates. If pollinated by a nearby male tree, a female tree can become covered in decorative clusters of berries, which cling to the branches even after the leaves have fallen. The berries are a bit messy, but they’re a valuable food source for wild birds.
Formal, clipped topiary is a hardworking element in the fall garden that provides contrast, form and structure. The deep green leaves of boxwood (Buxus spp.), privet (Ligustrum spp.) or yew can provide a welcome foil for the season’s flashier foliage. The sculptural forms of topiary also contrast well with ornamental grasses and the informal branch structures of other shrubs. As you transition to a winter garden, the topiary can be wrapped with white lights for the holidays.
A well-placed bench, pair of chairs or outdoor lounge can encourage you to slow down and appreciate the passing of the season. If you’re adding a new seating nook to your garden, look for places where you would naturally be inclined to relax, such as an area that catches the afternoon sun or a place against a wall to admire the garden from.